The Trail Blazers entered Sacramento just 3-8 on the road, so perhaps the Kings knew they weren't quite toast when Portland bolted ahead in the first half. LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers led by as much as 13 points in the second quarter and took a nine-point lead into halftime, but the Kings worked their way back into the game and survived down the stretch to earn a 95-92 victory.
The first half was pretty much all Blazers. Marcus Thornton, in his return from a thigh bruise, found the range for Sacramento in the early going, but didn't provide enough offense to make up for what Portland had going at the other end. Aldridge was dominant in the first half, capitalizing off poor Kings rotations to get easy buckets inside and from mid-range. In the second quarter, Portland's bench group, anchored by key members of the 2004-05 New York Knicks, just torched the Sacramento second unit. Jamal Crawford created off the dribble while Kurt Thomas swished one stationary baseline 18-footer after another, the same way he's been doing since roughly 1952. Once Aldridge and company returned, the Blazers forged ahead and appeared to have all the momentum heading into halftime.
After the break, though, the Kings turned the tables with force. On the defensive end, John Salmons, Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes all made significant contributions to keep Aldridge (relatively) off the scoreboard and off the glass and clogged the middle to prevent easy opportunities and force turnovers. Offensively, the Kings were considerably more aggressive. Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, and John Salmons each took turns scoring in bunches with their customary attacks. Evans barreled his way to the rim in transition while Thornton sliced around the paint to draw fouls (including one nasty but ultimately harmless shot to the head from Gerald Wallace) and Salmons did his thing from outside.
Sacramento got back into it quickly, but looked like they might fall down again until human flare/miniature person who supplanted Jimmer Fredette as the lead backup guard -- Isaiah Thomas -- did this:
That play led to a personal five-point run from Thornton and the Kings more or less regaining their bearings to finish out the game. There was a moment of terror in the closing seconds when the Blazers forced a backcourt turnover down three, but both Raymond Felton and Crawford missed potential game-tying threes and Sacramento emerged victorious.
Sacramento's win moves them to 7-15 on the season (but 5-4 at home) while the Blazers fell to 13-10 on the season and just 3-9 on the road.